Songwriters and music publishers are aligning against Recording Industry Assn. of America-backed legislation that would establish a new digital performance right in sound recordings.

The bill, offered by House copyright subcommittee chairman William Hughes (D-N.J.), would require radio stations to pay a “performer’s rights fee” for digitally recorded songs.

The money paid by broadcasters would be above and beyond the annual license fees.

Legislation opponents protested in a letter to Hughes July 23. Signing were representatives of ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, the Nashville Songwriters Assn. Intl., the National Academy of Songwriters, the National Music Publishers Assn. and the Songwriters Guild of America.

The orgs said that the legislation would allow the record companies to “virtually dictate the terms and conditions on which they, and others, use our music … We remain troubled by the bill’s implications for current and future sources of writer and publisher income.”

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